IAT804 – Assignment 3c: Art/Artifact/Design-Based Approaches

Assignment 3c: Art/Artifact/Design-Based Approaches (5%)

You have been tasked with conducting art/artifact/design-based research that explores a particular phenomena in everyday society. You will attempt to create new understanding through a process of making something where you focus on the aesthetics of what you are making and aim to be creative.

The project looks at how we might be able to design a tangible object that presents a record of one’s life. The object should be used in present day and be able to be passed on between people over time. The object should use concepts of slow technology where information is revealed to people over time, rather than immediately. Ideas of slow technology are found within the paper under Materials.

You will review an existing design-project (The PhotoBox) around the creation and study of a similar type of artifact, including the context and the research problems being addressed. You’ll then work through a design process, albeit the focus will be on exploring the research through design creation only and not a user study (which is the case in the associated paper by Odom et al).

Source Paper:

  1. The PhotoBox: William Odom, Mark Selby, Abigail Sellen, David Kirk, Richard Banks, and Tim Regan. 2012. Photobox: on the design of a slow technology. In Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 665-668. DOI: https://doi-org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/10.1145/2317956.2318055

Additional Materials:

  1. Design Portfolios and Alternatives: Bill Gaver and Heather Martin. 2000. Alternatives: exploring information appliances through conceptual design proposals. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’00). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 209-216. DOI=http://dx.doi.org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/10.1145/332040.332433
  2. Videos of Things: Doenja Oogjes and Ron Wakkary. 2017. Videos of Things: Speculating on, Anticipating and Synthesizing Technological Mediations. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 4489-4500. DOI: https://doi-org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/10.1145/3025453.3025748 – Watch the video on this page as well.
  3. See the “Flex and Feel" video on this project page from Carman’s lab. It is another example video that showcases a design. It was first created in IAT 884 (Tangible/Wearable Computing), then refined.


1. Read the papers and look at the design portfolio ideas above.

2. Individually sketch a wide variety of ideas about how you could create the design artifact. Think about how it would be used, what information it would present, what would cause the information to be presented, and how it could reveal information slowly over time through careful and thoughtful reflective interactions. The artifact should be aesthetically pleasing and meaningful in terms of the materials selected for it – this draws from traditions in art practice. The artifact should also be functional so that it can be used as needed.

Focus first on divergence where you explore many different possible design ideas with your sketching, rather than small iterations on a single idea. Try for at least 20 different design ideas. Then, you can narrow your thinking to focus in (convergence)  and do 2-3 sketches on one or more core ideas.

3. You will then work within a small group to share your ideas with each other and choose one specific artifact to design. As a group, you will then create a video prototype of the design. This means you will create a short video (less than 3 minutes) that showcases the design in some way. Think about presenting a scenario around the artifact.


You need to submit paper copies of your divergent and convergent sketches and then the final video prototype. Email the URL to the video so it can be downloaded and played back.

Assignments over the length limit will receive a penalty of 10% or only be graded up to the length limit, at the discretion of the instructor.


  • 2% Sketches and brainstorming: focus on providing a range of ideas (divergence) and then a core set of ideas (convergence)
  • 1% Novelty of the design idea
  • 1% Depth of the idea presented in the video
  • 1% Scenario: illustrate how the design is used in a particular situation

Extra help:

If you have never sketched anything in your life, you could take a look at the book, Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook. It is available online in the SFU Library.

If you have never made a video in your life, you can look at online tutorials on how to use simple video editing systems like iMovie.

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